“[The magazine] has provided those of us who are in this life with strength”

What did you think of the magazine?
I was very happy with the magazine. A lot of us are hiding this part of our life, we are in conflict with ourselves, we think we are so different from everyone and that we are the only ones who are like this. It is not only that the level of acceptance from our culture and religion is very small, it is actually because it can also lead to our death. So, this magazine in a way helps increase the society’s ability and capacity to accept us. And it has provided those of us who are in this life with strength.

What aspects of the magazine spoke to you the most?
I really liked a lot of the articles because they touched all of us in some way. It is especially relevant because the publishers of the magazine – who have come from this same society that says it values its culture and religion that excludes us as LBTQ people – have been able to show us that love is not restricted by gender. Additionally, love is not limited by the law.

Did the magazine make you see the LBTQ community in Ethiopia and in the diaspora in a different light?
I have to admire those contributors who live in the country because, as I have said before, they have passed a lot of challenges to be able to courageously share their stories with us. As a follower of the Protestant faith, I have fought with myself a lot while trying to accept myself, primarily due to my faith. I have always thought of myself as a sinner and I remember avoiding going to church for long periods of time because of this understanding of my faith. I have even lost someone that I deeply loved because I lacked the knowledge and understanding and I thought I was a sinner. And this is the life of so many people in the magazine.

I think it is a little easier for the diaspora community because the society there is more knowledgeable and further ahead than where we are in regards to its understanding [of sexuality].

What was the one thing that surprised you while reading the magazine?
The most surprising thing for me was the very fact that you had the idea of publishing this magazine in the first place. There are a lot of us who end up taking a route that we don’t want just to go along with the law and the expectations. So, even as I am surprised by this effort, it has helped us find ourselves.

What other issues do you want Queer Ethiopia to tackle in the future?
The personal stories that you publish are very good and you should keep doing it. It would also be helpful if you more openly addressed the issues of the LGBTQ+ community.

I love you. Stay strong and keep going. 💛 Maki Alex

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